Sotheby’s share price climbed to a record high a year ago but has since tumbled because revenue has slumped. The stock was down 40% over the past year, prior to Monday’s go-private deal.
For years Sotheby’s has been under pressure to improve performance, especially from billionaire activist investor Daniel Loeb. Loeb’s Third Point owned 14.3% of Sotheby’s as of May 10, making it the company’s second-largest shareholder. Loeb serves as a director on Sotheby’s board of directors.
The sale of Sotheby’s, which must be approved by Sotheby’s shareholders, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.
To fund the acquisition, Drahi said he secured financing from French bank BNP Paribas. He also plans to sell up to $400 million of his stake in Altice USA by the end of the year. The billionaire owns about 38% of the American company.
Drahi said he does not plan to sell any shares in Altice Europe, the Amsterdam-listed telecom and media giant.
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